FARMINGTON – This year’s Davis County fair is built around the theme ‘Bear Necessities,’ and will include a close-up look at bears.
The bears are sure to delight thousands with a little education and a lot of laughs.
Bob Steele owns and operates The Great Bear Show from his home base in northeast Texas, and only brings his bears on the road a handful of times per year.
Steele says his bear show will feature four bears he’s raised from cubs.
All of the bears in his show are orphans (or offspring of orphans), the product of hunters who killed their mothers in the wild. Steele has been taking in motherless cubs for several decades, and has become a bear expert during that time.
He says his bears are well treated, well fed and love to please.
The first part of the two to three daily ‘bear’ shows at the Davis County Fair will feature educational information about the animals, as Bob enlightens audiences about the bears’ habitat, diet, biology and behavior. The second part of the show will feature amazing tricks performed by the bears. After the shows, audience members will be able to get their pictures taken beside one of the bears while the animal says behind a Plexiglas barrier. No one will be able to touch or pet the bears, as Steele strictly follows safety guidelines. Over more than 25 years of performing, Steele’s bears have never hurt anyone.
When the bears aren’t performing, Steele says they will be on display inside safe-distance cages during the run of the fair.
Steele knows a thing or two about exotic animals. His father and grandfather both raised African elephants, and he grew up around the business.
“I’ve always had a love for exotic animals,” said Steele. “But bears and bear education has become my passion.”
Steele hopes to retire someday and turn his Texas home into a bear habitat.
In the mean time, Steele says he’s happy sharing his bears and knowledge with everyone at the Davis County Fair.
“It will be an amazing show for the whole family,” he said. “Come and learn about these amazing animals and have a few laughs.”
Bob’s bears have been featured in several television commercials, a few movies and wilderness reenactments for the Animal Planet cable channel.